CleveScene- The two had been convicted of a 1975 murder on Cleveland's near east side, along with Wiley's brother Ronnie Bridgeman (who was released on parole in 2003), based on the testimony of a 13-year-old witness. Ricky Jackson had been pinned as the trigger man.
A 2011 Scene investigation into the case, which found the child's account was a lie told as a result of police coercion and threats, also pointed out numerous other holes in the state's evidence. The story led the Ohio Innocence project to take up the case.
First of all, good for these guys. I cannot imagine what goes through one's mind while sitting behind bars for 40 years serving an unearned sentence. That's enough to make any man go insane. At what point do you just accept your fate? I feel like I would just be pleading my innocence everyday for the first five years. I'm not sure anything else would even go through my mind. I would almost be insulted that they let me out after 40 years. I would just tell them to let me stay. How could you get locked up at 20 and adapt amicably back into society at 59? That would be like waking up on the set of the Jetsons.
My main question is how much leeway do you get after serving 39 years in prison for a crime you didn't commit? The first thing I would want to do, after fucking a prostitute and easting a decent meal, would be to commit an actual crime. I'm not saying these guys should be allowed to murder someone, but they can pretty much commit any non-violent crime and go unpunished, right? Forget about misdemeanors, those would be a daily occurrence. It's like roll over minutes. You already paid for them, you got to get your 'money's worth'. Can't possibly get in trouble for anything drug and alcohol related. They are going to need all the substance abuse they can get their hands on to forget what happened behind bars. Theft is a non-issue. They shouldn't even need to carry money. Just carry a card that says "I served 39 years in prison for murder". Everything is free, no questions asked. Actually fuck it. I'm pretty sure I would just find the cops responsible. I would undoubtedly lock them up in a basement and recreate 'Saw'. Even it gets you sent back to prison, it's not like you serve any purpose in a society that has passed you by. At least you could sleep at night this time around knowing justice was served. Shit, at that point you have more friends on the inside than the outside.
I don't want to generalize because I am friends with some "law enforcement officials", but pigs are the worst people on earth. Two men had to serve 39 years (11 years more than I have even been alive) because the police coerced a 13 year old into testifying against them. How could anyone trust a 13 year old's opinion? Your testimony is moot until you pop out a pubic hair or two. Pretty sure every single thing I said at the age of 13 was a lie. Shouldn't we have a stricter policy for giving out badges? I feel like if you survive getting maced in the face and don't mind hanging around with a bunch of former high school losers you can finagle your way onto the force. There definitely isn't a morality test. If so, there are far too many cops that used a cheat sheet on that shit.
"All three had originally been on death row until 1978 when the Supreme Court shot down the death penalty and commuted all death sentences to life in prison."
Can't even catch a break. I would imagine after 3 years, and a lifetime of wrongful incarcerate ahead of you, you would gladly accept the death penalty.
P.S. In all seriousness, that's a very cool scene, and these boys are looking sharp after 39 years in prison.